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MENDOCINO COUNTY MEDIA FORUM
ISSUE No. 10 - Spring 2013
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Coate talks to Collins

On the future of KZYX

The budget and staffing,
Plans for the Ukiah studio
Will the Main Studio have to move?
Is Collins Running Again?

By King Collins

I met for an hour with John Coate, General Manager of KZYX in his office at KZYX. He's a very likable guy, and for the most part we get along real well.:

I asked John what he had done over the last year to further the mission of KZYX. He said, well, we're paying the bills now and saving money; we have a new web site, which he explains would have cost much more if he hadn't done it; and the station is saving $10,000 a year because he set up the web-based satellite connection for out remote studios, which costs less than the ISDN (data-wire) connection.

KZYX has a budget of $500,000, and half of that, about $250,000, is for staff salaries and benefits. When he came five years ago, he says, there were 6 full-timers. Now we have 3 full-timers and 3 part-timers, and the staff is very skilled and he wants to protect them. But the staff, all of them, are all from Anderson Valley.

And that is a problem because John feels that the Main Studio, the Mother Ship, is badly located in Philo. Aside from its remoteness to 90% of the county, there's no place in Anderson Valley that works for the connection to the transmitter-antennae, due to trees and other obstructions. That's the big problem, he says.

If not Anderson Valley, then where? Maybe Fort Bragg? No. It's going to be Ukiah.

What? The Mother Ship in Ukiah the place of bores and rednecks and nuts like me? But he reminds me, Ukiah has a lot going for it, radio-wise, it would be great for connecting to the transmitters in the hills, better for getting the news because after all it is the county seat, the court house and all. Besides in the age of new media and the web the satellite stations will be more like mini-mother ships.

John didn't seem to have a schedule for such a big move, nor what it would cost.

In the meantime, what about the Ukiah satellite studio? That he assured me would happen soon and in fact, he had already started working on the equipment. He pointed to a black box on the floor that he said was the guts of it. How soon? He wouldn't say.

I told him that the Ukiah satellite studio had always been popular in Ukiah. Why not raise money for the studio on air? For some reason he didn't like that idea.

In fact, Coate does not intend to do anything to forward the studio other than prepare the engineering. He said that it was a technical problem and he could handle it. I told him that the move to the studio seemed more like a social problem to me, considering that the current staff is centered in Anderson Valley, and it really seemed odd not to use the studio to raise money and interest in Ukiah.

Lastly, John was very concerned that I might be running for the board again which he says will cost the station over $2000. I told him I would think about it. For my response, see Collins running again.

(Editied 3-3-14)

 

 

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